Schweyer, Schlossberg and Browne announce grants for trail expansion

HARRISBURG, Nov. 14 – State Reps. Peter Schweyer and Mike Schlossberg, both D-Lehigh, and Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, announced the approval of $353,500 in state grants to install street lights, improve sidewalks and ramps, and create a multi-use trail in Allentown.


Allentown will receive $250,000 for a center city street lighting and ADA ramp installment project and $250,000 for the second phase of the American Parkway light project through the state's Multimodal Transportation Fund program. The city will also receive a $103,500 state grant to create a multi-use trail that would extend from Allentown’s Central Park to the Lehigh Parkway through the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program.


“I am pleased to work with Representatives Schweyer and Schlossberg to advocate for and secure funds to help defer some of these expensive costs municipalities have with critical infrastructure improvement projects,” said Browne, Senate majority Appropriations Committee chairman. “Projects such as these three are important to creating a healthy, safe and high quality of life standard here in Allentown.”


The Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant will be used to create a 1-mile paved multi-use trail that would extend westward from Allentown’s Central Park, known as Auburn Cross Trails, to the Lehigh Parkway, creating a link between the city and regional trail networks. The funding will be used to develop a master design for the trail and conduct an environmental assessment of the site. The total cost of this project is $198,500.


“I’m happy to have worked, along with Senator Pat Browne, to ensure that projects such as this continue to receive state funding opportunities,” Schweyer said. “The community benefits from the expansion of our trail system, as it offers yet another opportunity for residents and visitors to explore all that Allentown has to offer.


“I will continue to look for ways to support these projects, and congratulations are in order to the City of Allentown for its continued efforts to seek ways to improve recreational opportunities and quality of life for all who live in and visit the city.”


The center city street lights project is part of Allentown’s Upside Allentown strategy that includes the creation of a safe and walkable community and better pedestrian connection with the emerging downtown growth. These funds will be used to trench along the sidewalk, lay down cables and place conduits, erect lamp poles and assemble light fixtures, replace street trees, then refill and repave, reconstruct or replace sidewalk ramps found not in compliance with ADA standards. The total cost of this project is $2.1 million.


Phase two of the American Parkway project includes improved street lighting along American Parkway between Gordon Street and Airport Road. The length of this section of roadway is approximately 11,000 feet long. Currently, there is no lighting on American Parkway between these two roadways, presenting operational and safety issues. The total cost of this project is $1.07 million.


“This is a great example of what can happen when legislators work together. It’s great to work with Senator Pat Browne and Representative Schweyer to support the City of Allentown,” Schlossberg said. “Our downtown community is growing and will be enhanced by these enhancements and improvements.”


The Commonwealth Financing Authority granted the funding for these projects at its meeting today.